Flying Flags at Half Staff


Policy Summary

University buildings and facilities will fly the United States flag at half-staff only in accordance with proclamations of the President of the United States in observance of occasions of national mourning. Only the George Washington University flag may be flown at half-staff in observance of the passing of members of the university community.  The GW Police Department will coordinate when to fly flags at half-staff. 

The purpose of this policy is to promote consistency across university campuses in flying the United States flag and the university flag. 

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Staff


On a regular basis, the GW Police Department (GWPD) staff will review the Proclamation section of the United States White House website to obtain information about presidential proclamations and occasions for national mourning that call for flying the United States flag at half-staff.  When the United States flag is flown at half-staff, the university flag also will be flown at half-staff.   

The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia also have authority per the U.S. Flag Code to order that the United States flag be flown at half-staff. 

The university officials listed below have authority for their departments to determine when the university flag should be lowered to half-staff in accordance with the death of a member of the university community, and are responsible for notifying GWPD (202-994-9149) when the university flag should be flown at half-staff.   

Official Reason
Senior Vice President for Human Resources Death of an employee
Executive Coordinator, Faculty Personnel member Death of a faculty
Secretary and Vice President, Board of Trustees Death of a trustee
Assistant Chief, GW Police (or their designee) National mourning
Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Student Experience, and/or Associate Dean of Students Death of a student
GWPD will notify relevant university officials, including relevant operational staff at the Virginia Campus, regarding when and why flags at university campuses should be flown at half-staff.   


Contact Phone Number Email Address
GW Police Department

202-994-6111 (Emergency)

202-994-6110 (Non-Emergency)

[email protected]


Responsible University Official: Chief of Police
Responsible Office: GW Police Department

Last Reviewed: June 28, 2018


Non-compliance with this policy can be reported through this website.